January 30, 2010

Youth, Bible Studies, and more…

So far my evenings have been filled with great adventures and wonderful fellowship. I'm blessed by the ways of God and the anointing that He puts on people who are obedient to His Word. I've been at two church events here in Sweden and both have been a blessing. I will start with Thursday night as I was blessed to witness the works of the spirit as it was a very multicultural group. As the Lord fell and the group began to thank God for what he had done from working in a court case, to blessing in a witness of a young college student who was just giving thanks for her food, to the healings that were to take place with another saint in the church, and the list goes on and on. God was proving Himself in 2010 and it was a blessing to witness what He is doing. I was honored and blessed to witness and be a part of a much larger picture. God is so wonderful and it was an amazing Bible Study.

On Friday night I was blessed with the honor of having the youth group over for youth night. The group was not large in fact there was only three who came and two who stayed through the whole night. I was honored to speak with these beautiful young women who on the inside were oozing of greatness. The devotion done by Sister Sophie was great and such a strong Word from the Lord. She spoke about loneliness and that hit so home for many of us sitting there. Very powerful move of God!

As many would have looked upon some things in the states and seen something much differently I looked upon it as a blessing of what God could and will do in these girls lives as they stay obedient to His Word. I have found through time being here that these people are so hungry for the Word of God and in that it makes me thirsty to give to them in any way I can. In the small ways, like the word speaks about the wife, our conversation can be a saving factor to the lost. I can't even beginning to tell you how that has proven to be true. The youth have blessed me back at my home church but watching the move of God in the Youth Night was a blessing the gratefulness and gratitude is beyond belief that comes from these young girls. I have been so blessed and I am grateful for what God is going to do while I'm here.

Besides those two nights my great times of fellowship with the family here has been overly great. I'm honored to have spent time with them and been please with the information they've given me. I will be going to Falun on Friday and be coming back on Monday. I'm looking forward to this and hope that I may be a blessing to these very devoted and blessed people. I will fill you in when I return home on Monday but as for now I will be writing tomorrow after church to what great and wonderful things God did in service.

May the Lord bless you all on this wonderful day and I will be back to you tomorrow. J

January 29, 2010

Four o’clock mornings and confusing signs…

No one can tell me that driving in Europe is an easy task. As I've learned by Adrian driving me a couple times now it is truly an accident waiting to happen. I watch some of the people whom may I add drive on the right side of the road seem to drive like mad men out to kill their first deer. It is crazy how people can be driving around in circles and never truly make you feel like they are going to run you over. Most people I see are walking but there are some who are driving around and seem to run into each snow bank possible or come to an intersection where I've not truly seen many STOP. They will do the common coast as I find my mother do often but stopping like we see at intersections not rarely. As I say this I do not complain just opening the eyes of my readers to what my daily adventure today entailed.

Four o'clock mornings are starting to get at me. My body as it gets over jet lag is tired by the time it is bedtime but I still have not gotten a regular routine. My bed time has been close to 11:00 or as it would be here 23.00. I wonder often if I will ever get us to the military time but I'm going to have to because everything is like that including my bus schedule which I'm still not use to yet. When you are spoiled with transportation always at your hands it makes it difficult to not here. Back to the four o'clock mornings which wouldn't be too bad as I do stay up during the day and sleep at night so I'm not all out of sorts. However at 7:30 am every morning I find myself awakened to the chirping of little kids who are going to the preschool across the street or as they call it förskola. Adrian informed me that it is for children who are five and younger. Anyways these kids are so excited that I wake up every morning to either them arguing about something, which I do not understand what they are saying but I do understand what they are doing, and/or them playing and laughing. It is sweet as I don't know what they are saying ever but I have looked out the window to see them and their reactions. So that brings me awake after my little rest that was only a couple hours long following my four o'clock body wake up call. So as you can tell my Scandinavian experience is quite humorous.

Today was my adventure out by myself. I was planning on taking a walk to bandhagen where I would take the train into the city that normally I would take the bus to... well go figure I was lost in the first fifteen minutes of my walk. Lucky for me I wasn't that lost and was able to venture back home. I than find out that the next bus wasn't for another fifteen minutes so by then my cheeks were cold and I didn't feel like waiting for the bus. So I ventured down the street to the nearby grocery store that I knew was there. Probably a five or ten minute walk at the most. Lucky for me I was able to find the postal service where I could buy stamps, or so it looked like on the sign, and was able to venture through the grocery store of a foreign language. It was very neat to look at all the products as I learned quickly that I will be eating lots of fresh things because that is all that I knew really what it was. Which will not be a problem because starting on the 8th I will be entering into a Daniel fast with the church, yes the good old fruits and vegetable fast that we did for a month. However, they are only doing it for 21 days so that isn't bad at all.

So as you can tell venturing through Sweden was an interesting adventure. Even though short and truly probably only a half an hour I think I may be going back later on this afternoon to mail something for headquarters. We shall see though I don't know what this day will entail besides the youth night that will be here tonight. I will post pictures and maybe a blog tonight if not tomorrow. It is really nice having internet access here as I can stay connected at all times.

Well I am off to work on scriptures for Adrian. I have to translate them all so it will take me a while. L I also should pick up around here so that the youth are comfortable. I guess you'll hear about what God is doing after youth night. Lord Bless everyone!

January 28, 2010

No compromise…No hypocrisy

In my time here I've learned so much already. The people are so unique and even though some may find things they deal with as a struggle I look at them as being a positive thing. Please don't keep me to my exact history but the story line is the most important thing. Sweden at one time was ruled by the Catholic Church and its leader as we all know. The King decided that they were not going to be ran by the Pope and changed to be a protestant nation. At that time every person who was born was born into the Lutheran church, I believe it was, instead of being born into the Catholic Church. Well as you can imagine the people of Sweden have an idea of being a Christian as not being a relationship but just as it really is a religion. Since people in Sweden were born into a religion they were never able to be founded on the moral standings that America was built on. Even though some may think this is a negative thing that they will never open up to the Word of God that is not entirely true. The people here respond well to the Word of God as that is the only true thing that can change the heart.

During my conversations I've realized truly how amazing some of the lack of understanding is. Without the idea of what is morally right you have no ability to fight the common "but I'm a good person" response. Another thing is that people in Sweden do not like hypocrisy so that means there is no doing things just because that is what the pastor says. If people are going to make a stand for God they are going to do it with their whole heart meaning that the process that God intended takes place, from the inside out. How encouraging is that, as well as how uplifting and refreshing. We have found in the churches in the States and in Canada a sense of compromise as we say but really it isn't compromise it is hypocrisy. Being here I've realized how badly I don't want to be a part of that. As long as I'm true to my Lord and what I stand for that is what is going to be my salvation. Yes submission to my Pastor and his authority in my life is important and I will obey what he has for me but that is another thing that is different in Sweden. Here in Sweden people are treated as equals which is a good thing but a negative thing when you are trying to teach submission and authority. However, that is in the Word of God and the word of God speaks to the heart which changes, hence from the inside out.

I am encouraged today and excited to witness the things that God is going to do. It sounds like I will be going up into Falun, Sweden some time very soon and praise the Lord I am very excited about that. I can't wait to share with you the people that I meet and share the great things God is doing. I have realized that it isn't always about taking the step but holding God's hand through the whole walking process. With God we can't fail and that means that no matter what happens while I'm over here it will be exactly what God intends as long as I stay under His will.

So greetings from your overseas Sister. I will try to keep better updates but today was difficult being that nothing has really taken place but getting settled. Have a wonderful day as I am going to Bible Study and you are just starting your day. Lord bless you all and look for pictures starting on Saturday as I will be entering into the city! J

January 24, 2010

The journey begins with gratefulness…

Sunday school was different today there was sadness in the air as I knew it would be for my last day in the classroom. Watching the youngsters enter in the room made my hear t beat to a new and different rhythm. I wish I could say that I was comfortable or ready for the class but I wasn't, my heart hurt inside as I knew it would be my last class with these wonderful young people. Pastor's presence in the room was only a reminder of the sadness I was feeling inside and the struggle of making this no different because I was leaving.

Sweet Ms. Rachel paid for a cake with her own money for my leaving. The love that was shown from Rachel's gracious giving heart showed through her gift. I will miss that girl as well as the sweet determination of Josh, Chet's loud boyish manhood change in his attitude, and Luke's confident change. These sweet children have changed my life and I will forever be grateful for that. They have given me something that I can't put my figure on.

Hugs were given as the youth group came to say good bye to me. My heart still breaks as I saw the tears in Sara's eyes and the hugs from Lacey while the boys shook my hand. I'm proud to watch the change in Mike and witness the persistence that Brother Justin has came to with the Lord. As sad as it is to say good bye and leave I can't look back at the beautiful blessings that these young people have been in my life and not be grateful.

Now that we are on the road I can't believe this day has actually come. The roads are terrible as we can only imagine when the Lord is about to do something. I was told that I couldn't get my e-ticket yet and the computer took a while to upload. It truly has been quit the day.

Pastor's words will forever ring in my ears while I'm away. "Faithfulness is success in the eyes of the Lord". As I step into this new chapter of my life I want to stand firm on what the purpose of this trip is for and that is souls. The lack of churches in Sweden breaks my heart but I know that will change. As long as I stay faithful to the Word and house of God my witness will be as it should be in the land of Sweden.

Last Sunday after fretting about leaving the Lord gave me this scripture.

Acts 16:9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. 10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.

I know I have been called to help in Sweden as far as what will happen after my three month deployment, I do not know. I have three months of service to find out what God wants to do. The Lord has guided the footsteps of His people. Some to go, some to stay, and some to reach…

My Pastor is an amazing man and his love for service has taught me so much throughout my walk. It is today that I would like to say… thank you Pastor. You have done so much for me, taught me, corrected me, and encouraged me. I am going on this mission trip because of your faithfulness. You took me in, brought me under your protection, and with the help of God allowed healing to take place. If you would have not obeyed the call to stay and pastor the church in Fort Frances who knows what would be of my life.

Many want to go to the mission field, be a pastor, be an evangelist, or the next million dollar soul winner, but I have a pastor who followed the will of God for his life and because of that I am able to follow mine. You always said that it is about the will of God and now I say to all…..

Don't say I wish I could do this and I wish I could do that. Allow God to make you into what He wants. In your words "I am forever grateful" for what influence my pastor has had in my life.

I pray that everyone is safe today and blessed by the warmth of our Fathers embrace. Remember to forever be grateful for the people and things that make you who you are today.